Maximum amount of Docker containers on a single host

While playing with Docker I wanted to know how many containers I could spawn on a single system.

A quick for-loop told me that the maximum is 1023 containers on a single host:

Error response from daemon: Cannot start container 09c8f46b59ccc311e8d0352789db6debd0fa1df98186c5cda98583d762d48601: adding interface vetha5d205e to bridge docker0 failed: exchange full

The limitation here is the Linux bridging which can’t have more then 1023 interfaces attached. Specifically net/bridge/br_private.h BR_PORT_BITS cannot be extended because of spanning tree requirements.

wido@wido-desktop:~$ docker ps|wc -l
1024
wido@wido-desktop:~$

Although that says 1024 there is a header line, so we have to subtract one. That brings it to 1023.

wido@wido-desktop:~$ docker version
Client:
 Version:      1.8.3
 API version:  1.20
 Go version:   go1.4.2
 Git commit:   f4bf5c7
 Built:        Mon Oct 12 05:37:18 UTC 2015
 OS/Arch:      linux/amd64

Server:
 Version:      1.8.3
 API version:  1.20
 Go version:   go1.4.2
 Git commit:   f4bf5c7
 Built:        Mon Oct 12 05:37:18 UTC 2015
 OS/Arch:      linux/amd64
wido@wido-desktop:~$

Published by

Wido den Hollander

I am the CTO at PCextreme B.V. and i will keep this blog just to post some interesting information about my daily work on Linux (and other) systems.